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Ritenour School District Invests in Energy with Demand Response Program

Customer information

This Ritenour School District case study is based on a project developed in Enel X North America.


Ritenour School District

The Ritenour School District is located in Northwest St. Louis County, and it is one of the oldest school districts in the St. Louis area. The district has 10 schools, an early childhood center, and other buildings that support child and adult learning, with more than 6,300 students.

The need:
Reducing energy spend for the district

Michael Smith, Director of Operations for the Ritenour School District, is in charge of facilities, including their maintenance, security, operations and construction. He is always looking for ways to help the District save money on operations.

Picture of Ritenour school district

The solution

Enel X introduced Missouri's Business Demand Response (BDR) programs. It provides payments to large energy users who agree to reduce their energy demand during grid stress. When Enel X explained it, the benefits were clear right away. And he knew it was a great opportunity.


“The Enel X team has been very supportive—they’ve called me personally several times, and they provide excellent service. They’ve always been polite and explained exactly what they need and why. It’s a really great partnership that we have.” “I’ve recommended Enel X Demand Response to other school districts and mentioned it to other directors of operations.“

The benefits

  1. Significant Payments
    “Receiving payments is always a plus,” Smith said. “It’s important for us to be good stewards of the financial resources that our community provides for the school district, so receiving a rebate for saving electricity is a win for the school district.”
  2. Responsible Energy Use
    The benefits are not only financial—Smith said the school district tries to be a model of responsible energy use for environmental reasons, too, and demand response helps in a variety of ways, including contributing to a more reliable local electric grid.

    In a district with so many young people, the school wants to ensure they set a positive example. “We want to use our natural resources responsibly,” Smith said. “We have solar panels on our schools. We do our best to set good examples for students, and saving on electricity and using less electricity is a simple way to start.”

  3. No Interruptions to Operations
    Smith said that enrolling in DR was a simple process, and he has seen little disruption on the few occasions the schools have participated in a demand response event. “Demand response doesn’t affect our normal operations much,” Smith said. “When we receive a call to participate it’s usually near the end of our school day and, since it’s usually during a time of year when we’re using cooling systems, all we have to do is make adjustments to the settings on our HVAC and make sure lights are turned off, although we turn them on when we clean classrooms that evening. Just those two simple things have been enough for us to see energy savings.” “You can spend a lot of money on energy and electricity every month, so every little bit helps.”

  4. Re-Investing the Savings for Repairs
    Smith said they’re able to use their demand response payments to help make important upgrades to energy efficiency elsewhere in their facilities. “Our utility payments all come out of the operations budget, so when we save money on electricity it allows us to spend a little bit more on general repairs. For instance, if we had a failing HVAC system, we can use the money we save and the money from rebates to replace it. And that increases our HVAC efficiency even more.”  
Note: This Ritenour School District case study is based on work with Enel X and Ritenour School District in USA. In Japan, Enel X supports global and local customers to help them to save on energy costs, earn a new revenue stream and achieve carbon neutral targets with customized products and services. Contact us to learn more.